ABOUT THE FRESH COAST FILM COLLECTION
Nearly thirty years ago, fine art narrative photographer Ed Wargin set out to create a photographic film collection telling the visual story of the Great Lakes. Today, this art collection of original works on color reversal (E6) film is one of the world’s largest known analog film libraries that is solely dedicated to the natural and manmade history of the Great Lakes, created by one single artist. The Fresh Coast Film Collection™ is comprised solely of Wargin's work on color reversal (E6) film stocks, while additional works on color negative film, B+W negative film and a small selection of color reversal film comprises the heart of the Ed Wargin Film Collection™, which can be viewed on this site under the "film positives" and "film negatives" collections.
The Fresh Coast Film Collection™ is an artistic visual study of Great Lakes landscapes, rivers, streams, islands and archipelago's, lighthouses, summer retreats, fish camps, taiga forests, shorelines, sand dunes, and remnant tall grass prairies, encompassing on film the magnificent coastal landscapes and the nuance from waves to swells, as well as unforgettable manmade pollution that still runs sporadically along the shores.
The Fresh Coast is how Wargin referred to the area when he began this photographic work in the 1980’s, and it quickly became the namesake of the collection. A native of the Great Lakes region, Ed felt discord wherein the Great Lakes, as a natural body of beauty and history, was conjoined with the popular term of that era, “Rust Belt.” Though Rust Belt referred to economic plights in a broad span, it did not seem to aptly resonate with his visual experience of the Great Lakes landscape, and so he began to use the term Fresh Coast to visually connect the Great Lakes with a more deserving, better-fitting moniker.
The significance of this fine art collection of Great Lakes landscapes on color reversal (E6) film lies within the demanding, unsparing quests that include rarely chronicled locations for hallmark notables reflecting a greater Americana value of the Great Lakes, such as Aldo Leopold's summer retreat along the coast of Lake Huron's Les Cheneaux Islands and the former private fishing camp of famed fly fisherman, bestselling author and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, John Voelker aka Robert Traver. As a whole, The Fresh Coast Film Collection tells the story of our Great Lakes experience, but as individual photographs, each film plate offers masterful preservation of an artist’s photographic vision.
The assemblage of this collection is the result of decades spent by one artist making photographs of the Great Lakes, but also diligent organizational actions of curation and archival preservation best-practices thoroughly completed and some still underway.
Be sure to visit our dedicated website for the Fresh Coast Film Collection and the Fresh Coast Project.